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'We are bringing Cardiff together one hug at a time'.

It's all about bringing people together - by simply offering a free hug.

And that's exactly what was happening in Cardiff's Queen Street on Saturday afternoon thanks to Free Hugs Cardiff.

And it seems that people are happy to accept a good old-fashioned cwtch too.

Sri Ponnuswamy is the organiser of the Cardiff event. Speaking while hugging passers-by, he said: "Cardiff is a beautiful city with wonderful people and we need to do this to bring people together. Even if people don't give a hug, they look at us and smile.

"We normally do it for two hours and average 200 hugs. Cardiff needs hugs and we are bringing Cardiff together one hug at a time."

According to Sri, hugging is an important part of Welsh identity.

He said: "Thanks to the word cwtch, hugging is part of Welsh culture. Because the passion, love and welcome is part of the culture - they love a free hug. The moment you have eye contact with people, they smile and they just can't resist, they come give you a hug.

"Free hugs brings people together who are lonely. A lady was once watching us for a long time. She came over and gave us a hug. She had a tear in her eye and she said her partner passed away 10 years ago, she hadn't hugged anyone since."

A woman also started crying when she hugged volunteer Les Jones from Whitchurch.

Les said: "I had a lady cry today and said, 'you don't know what that means to me'."

Learn more about the free hugs movement at www.facebook.com/FREEHUGSCARDIFF

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Sri Ponnuswamy gave away free hugs in Queen Street, Cardiff, on Saturday

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 4, 2017
Words:281
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